Nintendo removing 'skinship' romance touching scenes from North American 'Fire Emblem' game

By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

Last week it was confirmed that Nintendo would be removing a scene that could be interpreted as supporting gay conversion therapy from the North American version of upcoming 3DS strategy title "Fire Emblem Fates" (titled "Fire Emblem" in Japan). But in keeping with the company’s regular policy of heavily localizing its games rather than just translating them, the North American arm of the video game giant isn’t quite done picking and choosing which parts of the original Japanese version’s content it will provide for players of the English-language "Fire Emblem Fates."

The newest "Fire Emblem" installment allows the player’s character to form personal connections with his or her brothers or sisters-in-arms. This can lead to romance, and in the Japanese "Fire Emblem" if, one way to advance the relationship is through physical contact.

This being Nintendo, it’s not like the game includes scenes of its armored knights jumping into bed and knocking greaves. Instead, it’s on the level of what Japan refers to as “skinship,” which covers things such as hugs, holding hands, or a stroke of the cheek. At points throughout "Fire Emblem" if, the player can choose to engage in skinship with another character. The view switches to a first-person perspective, and by tapping or stroking the touchscreen in agreeable places, the characters’ bond will strengthen.

The concept’s execution isn’t quite as suggestive as it might seem, as the touchable area looks to be only from the shoulders up. In other words, there’s no boob-grabbing or below-the-belt action going on. The available skinship techniques include patting the forehead of your object of affection, brushing his or her hair, or a quick caress of the collarbone.

But while the gameplay feature caused no controversy in Japan, Nintendo has stated that the skinship scenes are being removed entirely from the North American "Fire Emblem" Fates.

Given the company’s family-friendly image, the decision isn’t a complete shock, and some might assert that such dating simulator-style gimmicks have no place in a classy Nintendo-developed game in the first place. Still, others can make the argument that it’s an exceptionally conservative move to clamp down on such tame expressions of physical affection, especially given that the player can choose to get married in the game. In the topmost video, for example, the hero and featured character Anna have already exchanged their vows, and nothing they do seems all that bold for a married couple.

For purists after the original version, the situation is particularly frustrating. Unlike with other titles deemed to have elements too steamy for English-speaking territories, Nintendo’s 3DS is region-locked, meaning that if you’re interested in importing and playing "Fire Emblem" if, you’ll need a Japanese 3DS as well. So unless you’ve got a Japan-spec system, if you want to romance characters in the North American "Fire Emblem Fates," you’re going to have to do it with your words alone.

Sources: Dual Shockers via Hachima Kiko, Kotaku USA

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Fire Emblem Fates’ controversial “gay conversion therapy” scene to be cut for western release -- Nissin gets experimental with its Cup Noodles -- Nintendo’s new Zelda game has a female version of Link named Linkle

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Saw the 'skinship' clip! That's it!? How is THIS controversial? Gamemakers keep censoring games to keep us Westerners from 'complaining' about it! I'm a Westerner and I have NO QUALMS with this stuff!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Stroking a cheek? No one has done that to me yet. :-(

1 ( +2 / -1 )

shonanbb: Stroking a cheek? No one has done that to me yet. :-(

Print out this article, highlight the line "The available /deleted/ techniques include patting the forehead of your object of affection, brushing his or her hair, or a quick caress of the collarbone", and leave it where Mr. shonanbb will find it. Maybe multiple copies if he's dense.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Last week it was confirmed that Nintendo would be removing a scene that could be interpreted as supporting gay conversion therapy There was no explanation as to how these skinship scenes could be seen as supporting gay conversion therapy. Could someone explain that part.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Nothing new. Nintendo often has to remove parts from their video games and create a separate version for North America and Europe due to political correctness.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And this is what gives Nintendo the nanny brand... But then again I guess it depends on if they're trying to drop the ESRB rating from MA to T or from T to E. Hilarious considering how The Witcher games have made it to consoles. Now if it were heavy petting or something I could see it. But holding hands and other PG rated PDA? Nannytendo shall keep that moniker.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Watched the video. Maybe they're taking it out because it's so freakin' weird and wouldn't suit the tastes of foreign markets?

They also make new vid boxes to suit foreign tastes when selling to foreign markets. It's not just changing the box text to English.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is just plain a weird game

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Because westerners MIGHT take it differently against game maker's intention and the company doesn't have to risk of potential hassle which can be predicted by previous experiences. So, I guess Nintendo is not to blame rather the difference of culture, people, and maybe their standards. I've played some TRANSLATED games and they felt a bit different anyway.

Look, some people even think the game concept itself is weird making me imagine some western parents complaining to the game maker "What is this all about?" out of non understanding which can easily be led to frustration.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Instead of making that feature incestally unusable just with your siblings and pseudo-siblings/adopted, they just took out the whole feature

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@HonestDictator: You're right, and your comment is fair and I agree that the Witcher brand (along with many others like Dragon Age) have a lot of adult content... however as you said Nintendo has a reputation much like Disney which caters to kids.

However, just like Disney (and their sub companies like Touchstone), Nintendo should consider distancing the Nintendo name from some of their subsidiaries if they want to introduce more adult content. Similar to how they had Rare do the Goldeneye game in the 90s, or Monolith doing the Xeno series.

..not that those games are particularly adult, but not having the Nintendo name all over it does keep parents from getting confused.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Felt like a poltergeist coming at me.

"They're hereeeee ...."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't approve of this one bit at all

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Gay conversion therapy"?? Is there still such a thing? I know it's been tried, but as far as I know nothing has been proven as actually WORKING. One researcher, Robert Spitzer, said some early attempts were successful but later he took the unusual step of asking for his study to be retracted and that all the organizations citing his study to cease doing so.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

To be fair this is a pretty dubious feature as it's taken from eroge which probably doesn't enjoy the same popularity abroad so it makes sense to remove it as many players might find it slightly... sad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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